A credit report is an important tool for an individual to find personal credit information about themselves. An Equifax free credit report is easy to obtain, and besides providing valuable information about credit history, it can also reveal errors and misuse of credit information by identity thieves.
The U.S. Fair Trade Commission has a regulation called the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). This law allows anyone to check their own credit report, without charge, once per year. There are three major credit reporting companies that track credit information. Experian and TransUnion are the other two credit reporting companies besides Equifax. The FCRA allows you to see your report at each of these three sites once per year without charge.
It is a good idea to look at the information at all three sites. Their can be errors at one site that do not show up at one of the other sites. One way of monitoring credit report history without charge, is to look at one of each of the three sites every four months. In this way, information at all of the sites can be checked, and credit history can be monitored on a more frequent basis over the course of a year.
Some companies charge a fee for accessing a person’s credit report. These fees can be avoided by using FreeCreditReport.com which will allow the annual viewing of credit information at all three sites without charge. Paying a fee to a company will also provide you with your FICO credit score as well as the information on the report. The FICO credit score is not free as a part of FCRA regulation.
There are several reasons to check a personal credit report at least once per year. Sometimes creditors have incorrect information about an old account. A credit report will reveal this, and allow a person to make corrections. An account that has been closed may still show up as being open. The credit reporting company will not make these corrections. The company that has the incorrect information will have to be contacted, and they will then make the changes and report them to the credit reporting companies.
Knowing what is on a personal credit report is also important before getting a loan, or even in applying for a job in some cases. For example, when getting a loan to buy a car, the dealer will check on the person’s credit report. Knowing in advance what information is there, and correcting any errors in advance, can make getting the loan easier and reduce the possibility of being denied the loan. Checking credit report information can also catch fraudulent use of credit information by an identity thief.
Credit report information is not difficult to obtain. It can be viewed quickly and securely on the internet. Information recorded at each of the three major credit reporting agencies can legally be viewed by an individual one time per year without charge. Viewing credit report information at one of the three agencies each four months will provide a person with a maximum of information about their credit history without any cost.